By Chetan Sharma
New Delhi, Feb 26 (SocialNews.XYZ) The much-awaited Women's Premier League (WPL) is all set to kick-start from March 4 in Mumbai for which there's a lot of excitement among women cricketers as well as BCCI officials.
It is believed that WPL will change the lives of hundreds of women cricketers, both in India and overseas.
In an auction held earlier this year, the five franchises -- Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gujarat Giants, UP Warriorz, and Mumbai Indians -- were sold for a total sum of Rs 4,699.99 crore.
In the players' auction that followed, India opener Smriti Mandhana went for the highest price, with Royal Challengers Bangalore shelling out Rs 3.40 crore for her.
So, is the WPL all set to change the face of women's cricket in the country?
IANS spoke to Indian Premier League (IPL) Chairman and former BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal to get his views on the upcoming league.
IANS: You have been the BCCI Treasurer and now you are the IPL Chairman... How different are the two roles?
Dhumal: Nothing different... Both roles demand proliferation of cricket, taking care of domestic and international circuits and making sure that India stay and grow further as a global powerhouse of cricket.
IANS: After a long wait, the Women's Premier League is finally here. What are your expectations from the league?
Dhumal: We have seen how the IPL not only transformed cricket in India, but globally. It has made cricket more interesting and the reach has grown manifold. More Test matches are now yelding results, you hardly see any Test ending in a draw now.
Nobody would've imagined 15-20 years back that a team would score 300-400 plus runs or anybody scoring 200 runs in an ODI and that is happening at regular intervals. Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulakr took so many years to score a double hundred in an ODI.
He was the first one to score a double century in ODI and that was such great news at that point in time. And after that, so many double hunderds have been scored by different players. It is amazing how cricket has changed post IPL.
I am sure the same thing will happen with the WPL in terms of giving opportunities to women cricketers. It is a very very welcome change which will transform women's cricket globally.
IANS: Are you satisfied with the money which the BCCI received by selling five teams for WPL?
Dhumal: See, it is not a question of whether we are satisfied. Our purpose is to make sure that we give the best platform to the cricketers. WPL has been received very well globally by women cricketers.
So, the women cricketers are going to be benefited a lot. It has been received very well by the other women's cricket boards also. It will change how the sport has seen women cricketers in India and globally.
IANS: IPL is also beginning next month. For the first time in history, there will be two different broadcasters in the IPL. As the Chairman of IPL, how do you see it and what's in store for the fans?
Dhumal: I think the fans would always be the king. It is for the fans that we are there. So given the way Disney has collaborated with cricket globally, we are very proud of our association with it and Jio. And Viacom is emerging as the new kid in the block as far as sports broadcasting is concerned. Now it has joined hands with IPL and I am sure it will do an excellent job. Now that we are working on 4K broadcast, it would be a special addition to the coming IPL.
IANS: Apart from fans at home, fans at the stadium also need better experience, especially in terms of facilities. What's BCCI's planning on that count?
Dhumal: We are working with all the franchises and the state cricket associations for hosting the IPL, and we make sure that we keep improving the fan experience. Because of Covid, we could not hold IPL matches in all the venues in the past few years. This is the first season post Covid when we will hold matches in home and away format and I am sure the fans would love that.
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